Russian opposition leader joins Moscow mayor race

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s leading opposition figure is fighting the Kremlin’s handpicked choice for mayor of Moscow despite being on trial in a case he says is politically motivated.

Anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny launched his campaign for elections to be held in early September with a promise Monday to “destroy” President Vladimir Putin’s allies and “make life better” in Russia’s capital.

Incumbent mayor and Kremlin candidate Sergei Sobyanin surprised his opponents by moving the vote forward two years. He is expected to win handily.

Navalny became the face of the movement against Putin after publishing a series of staggering corruption exposes. He faces up to 10 years in jail in six separate criminal cases that he says were fabricated on Putin’s orders.

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